FAO and CITES support Asian countries with the implementation of recent shark listings

Geneva, 12 June 2014:  The regional workshop for key Asian shark fishing and trading States was held in Xiamen, China from 13 to 15 May 2014. Representatives from both CITES and fisheries authorities in 13 important shark-fishing countries (China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Yemen, and United Arab Emirates), attended the meeting and adopted a Xiamen Declaration.  The European Commission and Japan were represented as observer.

The workshop was hosted by State Forestry Administration (CITES Management of Authority of China), in cooperation with the Bureau of Fisheries and Fisheries Law Enforcement, Ministry of Agriculture of China, and was opened by Mr Liu Dongsheng, Vice Administrator, State Forestry Administration, Mr Zhao Xingwu, Director General, Bureau of Fisheries and Fisheries Law Enforcement, Ministry of Agriculture; and Mr John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary General (see CITES Secretary-General’s remarks).

Delegates reviewed the status of sharks and the legal, administrative and management regimes for shark fisheries within their waters and on the adjacent high seas and assessed the challenges and opportunities afforded by the new CITES listings.

The Xiamen Declaration signalled their determination to successfully implement the new CITES listings for sharks and manta rays and agreed on a list of priority actions, which is contained in the  report of a Regional Consultative Workshop on Capacity Assessments for the Implementation of New CITES Listings of Sharks and Manta Rays for Asian States, available shortly.

Participants at the Regional Consultative Workshop on Capacity Assessments for the Implementation of
New CITES Listings of Sharks and Manta Rays. Xiamen, China, 13–15 May 2014

At the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16) in March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, Parties decided to include 5 species of shark: oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran), smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) and porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), together with manta rays (Manta  spp.) in Appendix II of the Convention meaning that any international trade in specimens of these species will need to be accompanied by CITES permits confirming that they have been harvested sustainably and legally, and this trade will need to be reported to the CITES Secretariat.

Recognizing that implementation of these listings will take some preparation, Parties decided that the entry into force of the inclusion in Appendix II should be delayed by 18 months, until 14 September 2014.

The CITES Secretariat received EUR 1.2m in funding from the European Union to support these new sharks and manta ray listings and we are providing part of these funds to FAO - and consultants recommended by FAO - to support the implementation of CoP16 Decisions by CITES Parties and to help bring the fisheries and CITES sectors together in key shark fishing and trading nations. One aspect of this cooperation relates to the convening of regional consultative workshops on capacity assessments for the implementation of the new CITES aquatic listings.

In the Xiamen declaration, workshop participants:

  • recommend that African countries that fish and trade sharks consider using the Priority actions for the implementation of CITES requirements in relation to sharks and manta rays agreed by the meeting;
  • recognized the need for improvement of data collection; strengthening national legislation, enforcement and international cooperation; strengthening conservation and management measures; enhancing training and capacity building/human resource development; and securing funding;
  • encouraged all countries to closely collaborate with Regional Fisheries Bodies and fully use existing regional wildlife enforcement networks in relation to CITES-listed marine species; and
  • appealed to governments and donors to support the efforts by Asian countries to improve measures for implementing CITES regulations for sharks and manta rays.

The workshop was appreciated by all participants.

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